Minneapolis-based producer Megan Hamilton has been loving her time in self-quarantine. The funk-focused bass musician kicked off the new year with an appearance at Tuscon, AZ’s Gem & Jam Festival in early February, and has regularly been releasing new music over the past few months including collaborations with SoDown and Cofresi.
Geared up at home with quarantine necessities of her microphone, computer, beyerdynamic DT 990 headphones, a kindle, and weed pen, Hamilton has been cookin’ up some fresh new beats which are released every month and some delicious breakfast egg benedicts to go with her new Toast & Jam livestreams.
Live For Live Music’s Mikala Lugen chatted with Hamilton on her most recent collaboration release “G.R.E.A.M.” with hip-hop artist Will Robinson, her process of perfecting livestreams, her new position as a music industry instructor, and how to make the world’s best grilled cheese eggs benedict.
L4LM: In celebration of 420, you dropped a new single with Will Robinson with “G.R.E.A.M.” Can you tell us how you and Will started on that collab?
MH: I met Will on Instagram, he had a mob of people who were stoked about what he was putting out, so I took an interest to watching him. I live across from a bar called Grumpy’s in Minneapolis, and one day I walked out of my front door and saw him walking out. We started hanging out and he popped over and I had him brainstorm ideas for anything green for the whole concept. We just ran with that, celebrating “green” and the eco-friendly way of life. We dropped it on April 20th for a green anthem for the national holiday [laughs], it was a really fun song to work on together.
L4LM: The artwork for the new single highlights all things “green”. I noticed that you do the artwork and graphics for your own brand. Have you always been a graphic artist?
MH: Yes, by trade I’m a graphic designer. I’ve always been into fine arts and drawing, so eventually I got a lot into illustration. I also drew up the “G.R.E.A.M.” artwork and merch for it. The shirt and the hat are based off the cover of Wu Tang Clan’s “C.R.E.A.M” track. It was super fun to make. I’ve always done my own art, it’s very convenient being your own graphic designer, you can constantly make your own promo assets for any platform at any time without waiting.
“G.R.E.A.M.” Ft. Will Robinson
[Video: Megan Hamilton]
L4LM: You’ve been doing weekly live streams on Facebook, as well as releasing new music on a regular basis. Is this a result of the ongoing coronavirus and postponement of live events?
MH: Yeah, I actually didn’t know how to stream prior to all of this happening. It was quite a learning curve to all of a sudden figure it all out, and do it in a way that looked good. I was initially silent during the first week when everyone starting pushing out livestreams to learn the software, and making sure we had good camera angle and audio. Once everything looked good and I felt comfortable, I started my weekly livestreams. I now spend about half my day working on streaming stuff, or helping someone else with it. It’s been fun figuring it out with this new landscape, I’m a giant nerd when it comes to media software.
L4LM: You’ve also been integrating some breakfast cooking in each of your morning Toast & Jam streams. Can you tell us how to make the world’s best grilled cheese eggs benedict?
MH: Okay, so wow [laughs] it’s so much fun. You make a grilled cheese, you know the old Julia Child’s method, with lots of butter. Put that to the side, boil up some water, take a little festival pin and poke the egg at the very top through the shell, submerge it in the boiling water for 10 seconds, take it out, and then you swirl the water and crack it in. The swirl will prevent the egg from turning out super ugly haha. Let it cook for four minutes, and then instead of using hollandaise sauce, I use fresh tomato bisque I made in the Instant Pot. Take the lid of a mason jar and push it down onto the grilled cheese to make a perfect circle, put the egg on it and the tomato bisque and you got yourself a grilled cheese eggs benedict. I decided that since I’m benedicted that I’m going to make a benedict for every Toast & Jam Brunch livestream.
L4LM: You also recently became a music industry instructor and course designer for Slam Academy. What do you hope to teach to students in the program?
MH: Oh, it’s been so great. It’s an electronic music production school, and I recently became an instructor and their marketing director. I’m teaching a class called “Music Industry.” It was initially taught by Lazerbeak, a Minneapolis-based producer who’s worked with Doomtree and Lizzo. He taught a lot about the history of the music industry and how things operate within that, so we combined both of our curriculums to expand on how people can make it work for their music. I’m teaching a lot about personal branding and marketing, learning how to use social media properly, maintain an audience and following, monetize your music, and getting your royalties. Since we’re unable to do any in-person classes right now, it’s opened a lot of doors for us because we have an in-person student capacity, but when we go online, we’re able to accommodate a lot more students. Everyone has been really enjoying it, and I think we’re going to keep up with the online courses alongside in-person classes. My new streaming knowledge has really helped bring this about, and it’s nice to see that people are able to learn new things with all this extra free time. It’s been really rewarding.
L4LM: You also use another creative outlet to teach and inform people, reaching almost 50 episodes of your Green Room Podcast. Why did you start up this project and what are some of your most memorable episodes?
MH: It started as something just for fun, but it evolved into its own little monster and does take up a lot of our time now in a good way [laughs]. It builds camaraderie with all the guests we have on the podcast. I’ve had a few interesting guests on there that have made for great episodes. Ben Encanti of Zebbler Encanti Experience was really cool to talk with. He’s in Scotland, and he’s a professor at Berklee School of Music in Valencia, Spain, and he was teaching the masterclass there for music production. The Kill Paris episode was great too, he’s doing a lot of cool things with technology and biology and making music with those things. He talked about how he created his most recent album, Galaxies Within Us, using a piece of technology called a MIDI Sprout. It has all these alligator clips that you can clip onto any biological piece of material. He used different plants and he solely sampled the bass design for his song “Venus Fly Trap” from the frequencies generated from it.
Green Room Podcast, Ep. 42 – Kill Paris
L4LM: You’ve been regularly releasing new music collaborations amid our lockdowns, can fans expect more new music in the coming weeks?
MH: I actually have another release coming out on May 12th with K+Lab. I’ll have something coming out every month this year, there’s a lot of great new material waiting to be released. Maddy O’Neal and I are finally going to debut our new duo house project, House Wives within the next couple months. I’ve always wanted to have a house music moniker, and now I have enough house music to finally debut this project with her, I’m pumped. It’s gonna open a lot of doors for us since house music isn’t either of our main genres, so we can reach new audiences. I’m also going to continue my livestreams, including an upcoming one with A.L. Grime and do some collaboration streams. Manic Focus just started a “Beat Challenge,” sending a track to a bunch of different DJs to add their own mix and spin on it for a monster collab compilation, that will also be released in the near future.
L4LM: New music every month! We love to hear that. If you could do a song collab with anyone dead or alive, who would it be?
MH: Holy shit. I would probably pick Amy Winehouse or Whitney Houston, like why wouldn’t you?
Stream Megan Hamilton’s latest collaboration “G.R.E.A.M.” with Will Robinson here or via the Spotify audio player below.